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Will there be any end to Croatia’s economic travails? The EU’s newest member state has not seen meaningful growth since 2008 and its GDP shrank again in the second quarter, by 0.8 per cent.

It was the eleventh consecutive quarter of contraction, indicative of a deep economic funk upon which EU accession last July has made barely a dent. In need of lasting structural reform, the economy is likely to limp to the end of the year in continued recession. Continue reading »

Brazil’s economy is, by the standard definition, in recession. Its GDP contracted 0.6 per cent in the second quarter from the first, while the first quarter figure was revised to a contraction of 0.2 per cent form the previously reported 0.2 per cent growth.

The year on year figures were even worse: a 0.9 per cent contraction compared with the second quarter of 2013. Still, as Joe Leahy reported for fast FT, employment seems to holding up so the performance of the economy may not completely derail President Dilma Rousseff’s chances of re-election in October. Continue reading »

Few subjects matter more than the future nature of Asia’s economic rise. But what of it’s history? A bumper month of Asian independence days culminates this weekend with the anniversary of Malaysia’s handover from Britain, on August 31 1957. And what better excuse for beyondbrics to run a rule over the dramatically different economic trajectories of a selection of Asian countries that emerged from European colonial rule in the decades following the second world war. Continue reading »

** FT News **

* Nato to hold emergency Ukraine meeting | Rouble falls to a record low as tensions worsen and Russian-backed rebels have been advancing in a new front in the southeast of Ukraine

* Rouble hits record low against the dollar | Russia’s rouble hits a record low against the dollar as the conflict between Moscow and Ukraine intensifies Continue reading »

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By Eric Lascelles of RBC Global Asset Management

Globalisation was an unstoppable force over the past quarter century, marked by trade flows that grew at almost twice the clip of the global economy and by surging international capital flows, unleashing a torrent of demand and productive capacity. Emerging markets basked in outsized economic growth and rising standards of living. The developed world benefited from low prices, greater selection and cheap borrowing costs.

Since 2011, however, world trade has suddenly found itself on a much dimmer trajectory, merely matching the rate of global growth. Relative to the pre-2011 trajectory, exports have fallen a whopping $1.4tn behind schedule. Continue reading »

** FT News **

* Obama damps speculation of Syria strikes | President has asked the military to prepare ‘range of options’ against Islamist radicals, with John Kerry soliciting allies in the Middle East

* ‘1,000’ Russia troops in Ukraine, says Nato | Images show Russian units ‘inside Ukraine’, as Poroshenko cancels Turkey visit and demands a UN Security Council meeting to discuss situation Continue reading »

Following her sudden emergence as a potential favourite to win Brazil’s October election, Marina Silva is rapidly coming under greater scrutiny.

In particular, much attention is being directed at her two catch cries. These are that she represents something she calls the “nova política” or “new politics” for Brazil and that she will govern with the support of “os melhores” or “the best” from across the political spectrum, including from the major parties that presently dominate Congress. Continue reading »

Free-trade champion Mexico is on a reform drive that promises new openness in key sectors of its economy, especially energy. So what is it doing slapping protectionist measures on its shoe industry?

Fighting unfair competition from China, officials say.

The raft of new measures to protect Mexico’s industry – which makes 240m pairs of shoes a year – sounds distinctly off message, especially since President Enrique Peña Nieto has made boosting trade ties with China a priority. (He met his Chinese counterpart three times within six months to forge closer relations.) Continue reading »

It has been a shocking day in the progress of the crisis in Ukraine. As evidence mounts of yet more direct and duplicitous Russian military activity on Ukrainian soil, Russian assets have taken a hammering. The rouble fell 1.5 per cent against the dollar even after paring earlier losses and the RTS index of Russian stocks was down 3.3 per cent on the day, also after staging a recovery.

President Vladimir Putin denies Russia is involved in Ukraine at all, even as the Russian people hail him as a conquering hero with popularity ratings to match. But the chances that his adventure will be to their benefit are looking increasingly slim. As Neil Shearing of Capital Economics argued in a note on Thursday, “Russia is likely to be the major loser from any further escalation in the conflict.” Continue reading »

By Timothy Ash of Standard Bank

The crisis in Ukraine continues to go from one worst case scenario to the next with little sign of any near term prospect of compromise or resolution.

High hopes were set on Wednesday’s Minsk summit but little was achieved in effect – beyond a photo op for Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, who spun a yarn that he is really, truly interested in peace, and in any event that Russia is in fact not a party to the current conflict. Continue reading »

Tata Motors, the Indian carmaker, has announced plans to sell its cars in Algeria in a further sign of the growing role that Indian companies are playing in Africa.

Tata said it would launch its passenger cars in a partnership with SPA Elsecom, an established distributor in Algeria. Continue reading »

Investors should be extra careful about betting on South Korean banks, given the sector’s frequent internal strife and failures of risk management.

The latest case is Kookmin Bank, the country’s biggest consumer lender. The bank has come under increasing scrutiny after a series of scandals involving an internal power struggle among its top executives and allegations of leaked customer data, embezzlement and illegal loans. Continue reading »

** FT News **

* Stocks slip as Ukraine tensions build | S&P 500 futures show dip below 2,000 as heightened concerns about Russia’s relationship with the west helps reduce risk appetite

* Erdogan’s shadow hangs over Turkey premier | Incoming prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu will be overshadowed by a president-elect who demands his loyalty and an outgoing president who covets his job Continue reading »

A long-proposed sale of Citgo, the US subsidiary of Venezuela’s state oil company PDVSA, is once again making some waves. Rafael Ramírez, the powerful boss of PDVSA who is also oil minister and deputy president for the economy, said this month that a sale could go ahead “as soon as we receive a proposal that serves our interests.”

But in the US on Wednesday, Joe García, an energy savvy Democratic Congressman from Miami, urged the Obama administration to block the sale. Continue reading »

** FT News **

* Brazil national park draws private equity | US private equity group Advent International invests in national park service provider to capitalise on growing interest in leisure activities

* Ukraine rebels extend fight to south | The fighting around Novoazovsk creates a new front in the conflict on the Black Sea coast which Kiev has used as a logistical base Continue reading »